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Thursday 26 April 2018

Stalemate fails to raise temperature

Stoke City 0 Watford 0

Gerard Deulofeu
Gerard Deulofeu

There was little to get those who braved the cold excited at the bet365 Stadium as Stoke and Watford shared the points in a goalless stalemate.

Stoke had the best chance to break the deadlock just after the hour mark when Orestis Karnezis blocked Xherdan Shaqiri's driven shot and sub Peter Crouch headed the rebound straight at the goalkeeper.

The half-time parading of new signing Badou Ndiaye, who Stoke have signed from Galatasaray for around £15m, was one of the few other instances that got the home fans off their seats.

Both managers were taking charge of their new teams for only the second time. After making a winning start against Huddersfield 11 days ago, Stoke boss Paul Lambert picked the same starting line up.

Javi Gracia made four changes after seeing Watford go out of the FA Cup at Southampton on Saturday. New signing Gerard Deulofeu made his debut while Tom Cleverley and Troy Deeney returned from injury.

Stoke lacked the energy they displayed last time out against Huddersfield but almost took the lead midway through the first half.

Adrian Mariappa did well to block Charlie Adam's shot before Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting curled the rebound narrowly wide of the far post.

Then the night's best opportunity but Karnezis' double save denied Shaqiri and Crouch.

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